Way back when: David Freese almost signed with Red Sox

15 Comments

Alex Speier of WEEI.com has a good story about how Cardinals playoff hero David Freese almost signed with the Red Sox coming out of college.

Back in 2006 fifth-year seniors like Freese were allowed to sign with MLB organizations before the draft if their college team’s season was already over. Freese played for South Alabama and they weren’t expected to make the NCAA tournament, but a late improvement in their RPI ranking changed that and extended their season to the point that he couldn’t sign before the draft.

“If we didn’t make the regional, I was probably going to be a Red Sox before the draft,” Freese told Speier. “I was close. Obviously, I’m glad the way things worked out.”

So instead of signing with the Red Sox as a pre-draft free agent Freese went into the draft pool and was picked by the Padres in the ninth round. He signed for just $6,000, which is an incredibly low bonus for a ninth-round pick and likely less than he could have gotten from the Red Sox. Eighteen months later he was traded to the Cardinals for Jim Edmonds and the rest is history.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

Tampa Bay Rays
3 Comments

Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

*

Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.